Day four of graduations will see students from Edge Hill’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Faculty of Health and Social Care, pick up their degree awards.

Students from Computer Science, Computing, Cyber Security, Data Analytics, Information Technology, Web Design, Counselling, Health and Wellbeing, Integrated Practice, Midwifery, Nursing, Nutrition, Operating Department Practice, Paramedic Practice, Professional Education, Psychosocial Analysis of Offending Behaviour and Social Work will receive their qualifications over three ceremonies today.

An Honorary Award will be given to renowned engineer and CEO, Sir Robin Saxby.

You can follow Edge Hill graduations on Instagram @edgehilluniversity, at facebook.com/edgehilluniversity, on snapchat at ehusnap or through @EdgeHill or by following the #EHUgrad on Twitter.

Watch ceremonies live here: edgehill.ac.uk/graduation/live/

University Scholarship winner blazes international trail

A dedicated volunteer who has led the way in studying abroad, Robyn Ashfield, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship from Edge Hill University.

Robyn, from Accrington, has just completed a three-year BSc in Psychology. She received the £2,000 award at her graduation ceremony in recognition of her extensive volunteering and active role in promoting study abroad to her classmates.

The Edge Hill University Scholarship celebrates students who help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way through their exceptional contribution to the University.

Robyn was nominated for the award as ‘a shining example of the extra-curricular work and volunteering done by Edge Hill students’, which has included working in Ghana as a volunteer in 2017, taking part in the Manchester Memory Walk and Ready Set Glow Memory Walk with the Alzheimer’s Society in 2018 and 2019, all the while volunteering at the WISH Centre in Blackburn. She said:

“When I received the scholarship I was so overwhelmed and very pleased, as together with graduating it felt like all my hard work had paid off.

“The amount of support I have received from the staff has been incredible, specifically from the psychology department and the international office. Another aspect which I have enjoyed about Edge Hill is its gorgeous campus, it made it feel like a home from home.”

As a trailblazer for exploring study abroad, Robyn was the first student from the Psychology Department to undertake a placement via the Erasmus+ programme, at Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius, Lithuania. This has led the way for more students taking up study abroad as an opportunity, with at least four students participating in the following academic year, and further interest from current first years. Senior Lecturer Dr Adam Qureshi said:

“Robyn showed great initiative to be the first Psychology student to study abroad on the Erasmus+ programme, and continued her charity work for the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK by fundraising for the Autistic Society and the Stroke Association whilst in Lithuania. She has taken the opportunity to broaden her horizons while at Edge Hill and has led the way for other students in studying abroad.”

He added:

“As the first student to study abroad from Psychology, she was the only Edge Hill student at Mykolas Romeris University. This meant that despite the excellent support provided by both Edge Hill and Mykolas Romeris, she had to adjust to a different country and culture. She fully engaged with and enjoyed the course, showing her dedication to academic study and her resilience. She also found time to further fundraise for the Autistic Society and the Stroke Association, indicative of her compassion for others.”

To find out more about studying Psychology click here.

Inspirational mature student wins award

A student who has gone the extra mile to support mature learners returning to education has been recognised with a prestigious University Scholarship.

Michèle Riley, from Ormskirk, started higher education in 2016 through the Fastrack programme, Edge Hill University’s intensive access course for adults, going on to complete a degree in Nutrition and Health with First Class Honours. As well as excelling in her studies, Michèle has given time and energy to inspiring others to follow in her footsteps.

“Studying at Edge Hill has been one of the best experiences of my life and has improved my confidence and self-esteem”, she said. “I always thought I wasn’t clever enough to do a degree until I enrolled on Fastrack and went from strength to strength.

“The teaching staff, facilities and support are excellent and there is help available whenever you need it. If anyone reading this is considering returning to education later in life, my advice is to do it and the Fastrack Programme will prepare you for academic study.”

Janet Fairclough, Access Programmes Manager at Edge Hill, said:

“Right from the start of Michèle’s journey with Edge Hill she has always been someone who has shown great passion for her chosen subject and wanted to make a difference.

“Although fully committed to her degree studies, Michèle was so appreciative of the opportunity to come back to study as a mature learner, that she wanted to give something back.

“Michèle has shown her appreciation by giving up her free time to volunteer and support the promotion of the Fastrack programme. Michèle has been an excellent advocate and given her time to meet with applicants and new students. She has also given up her time to be a student representative and take part in student focus groups. She has always given a friendly and down to earth representation of what being a mature learner at University is like.”

There was a key figure on Michèle’s mind when she picked up her degree and scholarship, worth £2,000, awarded to students who help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way through their exceptional contribution to the University. Michèle said:

“My father, James Henry Riley (known as Harry), used to be a Maths lecturer at Edge Hill many years ago, before it became a university. I wish he was still here to see my achievements, he would be very proud. Fortunately, my brother, John, and two sisters, Mary and Jacintha, were able to attend my graduation ceremony and shared in my success. It was a truly joyous and memorable day.

“Winning the award is simply a wonderful feeling and I would like to especially thank those who nominated me. I am overjoyed. It came as a complete surprise and I feel honoured and very proud to be awarded it.”

To find out more about studying Fastrack click here.

Scholarship winner enriches the lives of children

An Edge Hill University student who has worked tirelessly to enrich the lives of children, Ellen Kay Garner, has won a prestigious scholarship worth £2,000.

Ellen (22) from Southport, has just completed a degree in Child Health and Wellbeing, achieving First Class Honours. The University Scholarship, announced at her graduation ceremony, recognizes her as an outstanding role model for her fellow students.

In addition to her demanding studies Ellen has made an exceptional contribution to the University including raising awareness of inclusivity issues and working with the Inclusion Team to inspire and advise future students.

Throughout her degree Ellen has worked with a long-term condition of cerebral palsy, contending with the symptoms associated with the condition. Speaking after receiving her award, Ellen said:

“During my time studying at Edge Hill I have particularly enjoyed the sense of achievement and fulfilment I experienced when completing assignments to the best of my ability despite having to face daily challenges. I strongly believe that my time at university has helped shape me into being the independent individual I am today and greatly increased my confidence, positive outlook on life and my future prospects as a Child Health and Wellbeing graduate!

“When I received the scholarship I was totally overwhelmed, I could not be happier that my achievements have been recognised by others and that I was able to be of support to fellow students in a similar circumstance to myself. I am excited to see what the future holds for me and I cannot thank the staff at Edge Hill enough for all of their support.”

The Edge Hill University Scholarship celebrates students who help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way through their exceptional contribution to the University. Learning Facilitator Nadine Bevis, who nominated Ellen for the award, said:

“I congratulate Ellen on her award, which shows her dedication. Ellen has worked so hard for this. Ellen always puts others first, never wanting to let anyone down. She will arrive to her planned mentoring session even when she is in pain, showing dedication and passion for her study.”

Ellen’s dissertation focused on the factors that facilitate disabled children to participate in physical activity and sport, whilst most research in the area currently looks at the barriers encountered. Nadine added:

“This is a passionate, but truthful piece of work which could inform practitioners of ways to enhance inclusion. This and all of her outlook shows her commitment to improving the lives of children through her care and support as well as in her academic work.”

To find out more about studying Child Health and Wellbeing visit our course page.

Manchester chef turned to study to help understand devastating disease

Cassandra Adom waiting for her ceremony to begin

A catering professional who lost her husband to cancer turned to study to find out more about how food may have an impact on the disease’s cause and possible mitigation.

Cassandra Adom, a mum of two from Manchester is graduating from Edge Hill University with a degree in Nutrition and Health after combining her love of cooking with a desire to learn more about the basic building blocks of food and its effect on the body.

“I was born in Ghana,” said Cassandra. “Growing up, it is impressed on you to learn the act of housekeeping early. At the very centre of the housekeeping duties is cooking. I realised very early on that I had an extra knack not just for cooking but cooking good food hence my catering background.”

Cassandra worked in a variety of catering roles, including the Copthorne Hotel in Manchester, Michael Caines’ restaurant in ABode Manchester and was head cook for Childbase Nurseries in Coventry.

“Even though I have always loved cooking and turned it into my profession, my extra motivation for this course stems from a combination of tragic and sobering circumstances,” she said. “In my quest to find the cause and ways to help understand the disease, I learnt what we eat could be one of the possible triggers at the same time to help fight or mitigate and slow the spread and its effect.

“Though the three-year journey it has been bumpy and at times challenging, I did enjoy every bit of it. I have learnt a lot from the programme and I now have the ability to confidently apply the practical strategies from it in a professional setting.

“Edge Hill has given me the greatest experiences in life. I learnt so many skills while studying on the course such as working in a team and being professional. The list is endless. It has been brilliant. I have made some wonderful friends and I have been strengthened and gained much confidence as a person.”

She progressed to her degree course after completing the Fastrack programme. Fastrack offers adults the chance to gain the skills, understanding and confidence required for degree level with training offered in essential study skills.

Cassandra hopes to study for a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and would like to work in the health sector. At the moment she is volunteering at FoodCycle as a project leader. FoodCycle is a charity which supports people who are hungry and lonely, turning waste food into lunches and dinners.

 She also has some advice for current students: “You are going to be challenged as that is the only way you can develop and further your skills as independent thinkers and learners. This may sound daunting, do not worry and keep focusing. Make the most of the study skills support available to you – there will always be someone who can help if you get stuck. Most importantly, believe in yourself and enjoy your studies! If I have made it, it is possible for you all.”

Find out more about studying Nutrition and Health by visiting the course page.

Nigerian student hopes to make food more nutritious with research career

A Nigerian student who overcame language barriers has graduated with a 2.1 BSc (Hons) in Nutrition and Health from Edge Hill University.

Grace Bajo, who moved to the UK with her family seven years ago, threw herself into university life to improve her English and started an Edge Hill Nutrition Society.

With a passion for how science can make food more nutritious, Grace will now go on to study a Masters in Food Bioscience at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Grace, from Sudbury, said:

“Coming from Nigeria I could speak English, but I found it hard to write academic essays. My tutors encouraged me to get involved in University life and gain experience. I also wanted to improve my confidence level as well as do something for the University and my fellow students. So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and became a course representative and helped establish the Nutrition Society.

“By going to meetings, talking to lots of people and organising society events I increased my understanding of nutrition and this also had a positive effect on my academic writing.”

Thanks to Grace’s involvement with the Nutrition Society, the group won the 2019 award for the best new society. Grace added:

“I’ve always had a passion for nutrition. I’m conscious about what I eat and the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle. I’m particularly interested in food safety and how science can be used to make food more nutritious, so aside from people eating healthily and being active, the food we eat can be improved so it’s also better for us.

“For instance, how polyphenols (micronutrients) in dark chocolate could fight free radicals which are harmful to the human body.”

Grace’s lecturer, Hazel Flight, Programme Lead on the BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Health degree, said:

“Grace has been an outstanding student who has made a huge impact on the course. As English is not her first language she struggled at times in her writing ability, but she persevered and as the student representative never missed a meeting. She has been a strong student voice over the three years and is an excellent ambassador for the course.

To find out more about our Applied Health and Social Care courses here

Inclusion Team key to realising Grace’s higher education goals

A student who has overcome significant mental health challenges marked her 30th birthday by collecting a First Class Honours degree from Edge Hill University.

Grace Sutcliffe, from Southport, gained a BA (Hons) in Health and Social Wellbeing, a significant achievement having struggled since the age of 15, hindering a high school and college education.

“It was a difficult time and I required inpatient treatment in a mental health unit. I remember feeling like it was the end of the world, that I would never achieve anything. I was then diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and struggled with severe bouts of depression and self-harmed daily. I was rock bottom and didn’t think I had much of a future. It felt like no matter how hard I tried to progress in my education, my ill health was holding me back.”

At 18, Grace had inpatient treatment over a seven-month period, which she feels proved a turning point – and two years later, she went to University for the first time.

“I managed well to begin with, although I did not receive much support at the institution I attended. And by my second year of study, I began to struggle again. Again, I had to have further inpatient admissions to the mental health unit as my mental health deteriorated.”

This period did provide some solace. Intensive treatment for her mental disorder led to a form of recovery and reignited her ambition to return to higher education. And then there was meeting somebody who has helped transform her life.

“When I was 22 I met my husband, Andrew, who swept me of my feet, we fell deeply in love and married in less than a year. He brought great support and stability to my life. He is an amazing man.”

A return to college to study an Access to Health course reignited her career ambitions, although there were occasions when mental health issues would occur. But in 2015, her higher education dream was realised at Edge Hill, aided by extensive support from the University’s Inclusion Team which included Learning Facilitator, Vicky Laidlaw.

“I had early input from the Team prior to starting my degree. They guided me through the process of preparing for higher education and helped me identify what support and reasonable adjustments I would require enabling me to succeed.

“Vicky has provided mentoring support to help me plan and manage assignments. A huge help is that she would accompany me round the library when I needed course books because I felt anxious going in on my own.

“The biggest challenge I have faced is that my illness is very unpredictable. I don’t know when I am going to become very unwell. Numerous times I struggled to attend a lecture, keep up to date with reading and work on assignments because suddenly I would become crippled by depression and anxiety and be unable to function.”

This led to an issue early in her third year, which eventually meant, in collaboration with her course leader and the Inclusion Team, that she deferred until 2018/19 to complete her studies.

“I became severely unwell with psychosis. I was admitted to the mental health unit. Once again it felt like my hopes and dreams were crushed as I was too unwell for university. I had to stay in hospital for two months.

“I was so unwell that it was unclear how I would manage returning to complete my final year. But I knew I had to find all my strength and determination to achieve my aspiration.”

Grace has been grateful for the continued support she has received on a course where she learnt to much.

“My Learning Facilitator accompanied me to most of my lectures to offer support and assistance. And all my lecturers have been wonderful, I know they have all been there should I need anything. I am forever thankful to the University.

“I have gained knowledge which I can apply to future employment. The lecturers were great and clearly committed to their role. I feel my course has equipped me for various career prospects.”

A passion for research – aided by her Research Studies and Dissertation modules – sees Grace embark on postgraduate study at Edge Hill, pursuing a Masters in Research with the ultimate aim of completing a PhD.

And what advice would she offer to current students?

“If you are struggling or have additional needs, ensure that you speak to the University, so that you can be supported – they want you to achieve just as much as you do!”

Find out more about studying Health and Social Wellbeing at Edge Hill University by visiting the course page.

 

Mixed emotions for Amy

Two years ago, Amy Magill overcame several obstacles to graduate with a First Class degree in Child Health and Wellbeing; today, she can now add a Masters to her list of academic achievements.

The 26-year-old from Southport has juggled the demands of motherhood and a turbulent relationship in successfully coming through higher education, to make a brighter future for herself and her son, now aged nine.

Encouraged to return to college, she achieved a triple distinction star which instilled in her the confidence to continue to university. Initially keen to pursue Social Work and Nursing at degree level, her eventual course suited her needs. She said:

“I found my BSc Hons a challenge, but at the same time extremely rewarding and it opened so many new doors. I think it also helped that my tutors were so supportive and offered continued help and guidance throughout.”

Her subsequent two-year Masters in Social Work included 170 days of practice hours, which put a strain on her family life.

“This was difficult with a child, a home to run and a job. However, I am hoping it will pay off in the future – being that it was also my 10th year of education since leaving school!

“The Masters was definitely more challenging than my degree in many ways; however, my current employers were amazing with supporting me through it and were extremely accommodating with my hours and checking up on me.”

Reflecting on her time at Edge Hill, she is sorry to leave – but hasn’t ruled out a return…

“I am extremely sad to be leaving. It has been amazing to see the university grow and change over the years and I hope to one day be back to do my PhD.”

Amy currently works for Amber Family, a parental assessment unit, keen to continue to put into practice all that she has learnt.

“I am unsure what the future holds but no matter what path I take I am looking forward to hopefully making positive change and being an advocate to children and families in need.”

How does Amy reflect on her journey back into education, and what she has achieved?

“It was not easy, but it was worth it. There was always an up to a down for myself, and each down made me a stronger person. It challenged me in all areas of my life; however, having my nine-year-old son tell me, ‘I did it’, was priceless. Even now, graduating, I still do not believe what I have achieved.”

Find out more about studying for a Masters in Social Work at Edge Hill University by visiting our course page.

Student who shot to fame through his work with Robbie the Robot graduates with First Class degree

 

 

Edge Hill University student Zachary Wharton who shot to fame through his work with Robbie the Robot has graduated with a First Class Honours in MComp Computing.

During his four years of study Zach has been involved in many different research projects including the University’s much-loved Robbie the Robot.

Zach was part of the team who taught Robbie to become a soap fan and spot the signs of dementia by watching episodes of Emmerdale.

This research attracted media attention around the world and saw Zach quoted and interviewed alongside his lecturer Ardhendu Behera.

Kendal-born Zack, said:

“I’ve loved the last four years and it’s been fantastic to take on extra internship research opportunities through Ardhendu. He’s very supportive and encourages me to develop my skills.

“The work with Robbie and our project ‘Human Activity Behaviour Understanding: Dimensions of Human-Robot Social Interaction’ not only attracted media attention but also allowed me to present at prestigious IEEE Computer Conferences and write for journals. “

He added:

“Our current research is on Intelligent Transportation Systems and how self-driving, intelligent cars might soon be able to predict driver distraction.”

Zach will now continue his research with Ardhendu studying a Masters in Research (MRes) within Edge Hill’s Computer Science department.

Sir Robin receives honorary doctorate from Edge Hill University

Sir Robin Saxby has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Edge Hill University in recognition of his contribution to business and technology.

An extraordinary leader and pioneer of innovation, the 72-year-old and his team at ARM can lay claim to have transformed how we live our lives.

Born in Derbyshire and educated at Chesterfield Grammar School, Sir Robin gained a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics from the University of Liverpool in 1968, fulfilling an obsession which saw him, in his early teens, running his own radio and TV repair business.

He reflected fondly on his time in the region during his speech, which ignited his love for Liverpool FC and deepened his passion for music – as well as meeting his future wife, Patricia. He said:

“My uncle played left-back for Chesterfield, but I had to follow the Reds! I used to build amplifiers for rock ‘n’ roll bands, Liverpool ‘was’ music for me growing up where I did.

“On 26 November 1966 I was here at Edge Hill, at a flower dance with my friend, Phil. He was nervous trying to find a girl to dance with, but it is where I first meet Patricia, whose parents were visiting friends in nearby Old Roan. I soon forgot about him, and in the end, he initially refused to drive us home. But I’m glad, as an engineer, I was able to remember her number. It is so touching that we can go back down memory lane, a lovely surprise.

“It’s so amazing for me to be back here again, after so many years – perhaps one day somebody here will follow in my footsteps?

“I still keep in touch with eight friends from university, despite life’s ups and downs we meet up, truly it is a place where you’ll make friends for life.”

He worked for Rank Bush Murphy (with whom he learnt about the importance of working closely with his marketing department!), Pye Ltd, Motorola and Henderson Security – with whom he took on his first CEO role – and European Silicon Structures.

But it was during his 30s these where he encountered somebody who would prove so influential later in his life.

“I had a bullying boss in my mid-30s, I felt useless, he was always rating me as a three out of 10 for everything, I had a tough time. But it made me realise I could make the subsequent project at ARM work. If that hadn’t happened, perhaps the success might not have followed.”

He became the first CEO of Cambridge-based ARM in 1991 and was instrumental in it becoming a global giant over the next 15 years, the last five of which he served as Chairman.

Upon appointment, he recruited 12 engineers from Acorn Computers into the newly-formed joint venture between Acorn and Apple Inc, transforming them into a formidable management team. The key to the company’s subsequent success was in having the foresight to introduce the licensing model for selling microprocessors. He said:

“I’d learnt that people are key to success, fostering a sense of togetherness and teamwork.”

Having the intellectual property they created through the design and systems on the processors, rather than making their own chips, meaning that any company could incorporate them into their own design needs, an audacious approach in the industry.

They would eventually hoover up 95% market share in the mobile phone sector.

Similar success in other areas such as car technology, robotics, medical monitors and inhalers made ARM into the world’s most successful processor company, its growth in terms of sales, employees and market share mirrored in its global reach, with offices based around the world and licenses taken by all significant semiconductor companies – unique for a British company, particularly in the electronics sector.

Knighted in 2002, since his retirement five years later he has been a tireless promoter and champion of young entrepreneurs and continues to be involved in numerous start-up companies. He also retains an enthusiasm for art and music, recording with his son.

“Age is just a number – I’ve moved on to do so many other things, working with my son is such a real bonding experience. I’m still interested in so many things, it keeps me active.”

His role call of honours includes a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, a Faraday Medal, several honorary degrees and the Founders Medal awarded by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He advised:

“It’s important to live your life to the full, life is your oyster. Remember, life’s about experiencing everything, gaining an all-round education, not just focusing on your studies. Make the most of life – there are enough pressures. Enjoy your friends, enjoy your time.

“And don’t worry about making mistakes, it’s part of learning – but make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice!”

Computer whiz gains First after work experience with major international brands